'Silly season' not so silly
It was once called "political silly season," a term used to describe the time when candidates or their supporters would resort to extreme — sometimes laughable — tactics to get attention for their election. The Kansas political silly season has arrived.
The problem? This year, nobody is laughing.
Every election is important. But, the stakes for Kansas could not be higher. Right now, well-funded outside special interest groups are busy spending millions of dollars — a record in Kansas politics — to defeat incumbent senators who put their local communities above the agendas of these special interest groups.
It's these outside special interest groups with their Washington, D.C.-style politics and deficit spending that are driving our state over a financial cliff, creating a $2.7 billion deficit and hoping Kansans like us don't notice. An independent, nonpartisan analysis confirms what we already know about their plan. Our property taxes will rise. Our sales taxes will increase. Our schools will be consolidated or closed because 40 percent of their current budgets could get wiped out.
This is not responsible state government. This is not the legacy of Eisenhower Republican values that our parents and grandparents taught us to believe in.
Some have promised these new initiatives will pump adrenaline into the Kansas economy, yet their own projections indicate job gains of a mere 20,000 over the next few years. The Kansas Economic Policy Council has done the math. It will take 550,000 jobs, earning $50,000 each per year, to replace the revenue loss from their newest tax plan. That would take a growth rate in Kansas five times that of Texas' recent growth rate — a state often cited as a success story, but one that has little in common with Kansas and the values we cherish here.
One of these special interest groups, Virginia-headquartered Americans for Prosperity, even resorted to sending out postcards attacking Republican legislators for supporting "Obamacare." However, a look at the voting record will show that every Republican in the Kansas Senate voted against Obamacare by passing the Kansas Health Care Freedom Act and is standing in direct opposition to the president's health-care plan.
Kansas is a long way from Texas and it's a long way from Virginia. It begs the question, why are groups from these other states spending record amounts of money this cycle to confuse voters in an attempt to buy our elections?
Right now, the very senators who are under attack are working hardest to ensure a bright future for our state. We have pushed for responsible tax reform, including property tax relief. We developed the Kansas Works plan to bring thousands of manufacturing jobs back to Kansas from places like China and Mexico. We fought to restore dollars to our local schools after $18,000 had been cut from every Kansas classroom.
Politics can be a rough business, but don't be fooled by these desperate, deceitful tactics. Kansas elections and our elected officials are not for sale. When Kansans go to the polls Aug. 7, they can either vote for rubber-stamp majorities, or join me in taking a stand for our local communities and protecting their voice — the Kansas voice — in the legislative process.
No matter how much money these outside groups pour into our state, we will always have something more powerful — our vote. On Tuesday, Aug. 7, I hope you will join me in exercising your right to vote because Kansas values are just too important.
Morris, R-Hugoton, is the Kansas Senate president.